Liz Martin’s experience highlights the ongoing predicament: there are significant …

Comment on Someone is going to die at this crossing, say councillors by Bob Durnan.

Liz Martin’s experience highlights the ongoing predicament: there are significant dangers involving pedestrians, trains, bicyclists and motor traffic in this stretch of road and railway.
Maybe we need to consider a lower speed limit from the dump road intersection to the roundabout.
However most comments seem to disregard the fact that there have already been a number of people killed and injured here – on the road and on the railway – in the past thirty or forty years. It’s a dangerous situation, period, from well before the new crossing fixtures were installed.
With the wheelchair access walkway to the rail crossing, and the pedestrian island, an effort has been made to provide a partial solution to those long term and complicated problems of safety.
It sounds as though the needs of bicyclists may have been overlooked, or at least not accommodated.
How do we know whether it is, on balance, a better situation than what was there previously?
Isn’t it about time that somebody conducted a detailed interview with the people who designed the new structures to get their side of the story?
Has anybody spoken to the leaders of the Little Sisters community to see what they think?
Were Tangentyere or Ingkerreke involved in considering the options, and do those organisations have views on the current debate?
Everybody seems to have strong opinions, but we are not hearing from those who presumably know some of the most relevant facts.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Someone is going to die at this crossing, say councillors
So gracious of you Janet (J. Brown, Posted June 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm) to take the time to respond to my comment.
As a matter of fact, some of my recent work has involved surveying a sample of Aboriginal people in Alice Springs, including visitors from many bush communities.
In the course of this work I have had opportunity to discuss what many of these people do and don’t understand about calling the police and others for help, and what difficulties they encounter when they try.
Many of these people did not understand some important details of the system (such as when to use the 000 number and when not, and what other options are available), and were extremely pleased when given more details about how and when to contact police and other agencies about various matters.
This indicates to me that a continuing information campaign around some key issues may be very helpful for all concerned.
This is an ongoing issue as there are thousands of Aboriginal people visiting Alice Springs each year, and there is a great variety amongst them in terms of understanding important details of the law, regulations and customary ways of doing things when in a town like Alice.

Someone is going to die at this crossing, say councillors
Janet (Posted June 14, 2013 at 10:18 am) and others: if you have a close read of Liz Martin’s email (reproduced above by Erwin in his article) you will see that the cause of the near-catastrophe was that somebody ran onto the road in front of speeding vehicles.
This is NOT a new phenomenon on this stretch of road, and similar behaviour has been the cause of many accidents and near misses there in the past. These incidents have included some that also involved trucks, trains and other vehicles loaded with heavy and/or dangerous goods.
Large groups, small groups and individuals are often standing beside this busy stretch of road, trying to cross it on their way to or from the shop or “dinner camps” in the riverbed.
Quite often some or all of these people are in “various stages of intoxication”.
This has been happening for decades: it has been known to the police, most road users, politicians, council members, emergency services, town planners, road designers, railway staff, Aboriginal organisations and many other Alice Springs residents.
Most of us know that some people have been doing dangerous things here – including running and walking into the paths of both road and rail traffic, shocking those in the vehicles, and sometimes resulting in injuries or death.
Some people have fallen asleep on the rail tracks or road, again on occasions resulting in injuries and deaths and shock for drivers and their passengers.
The frightening near-miss witnessed by Liz Martin appears to be another of these incidents, and not necessarily the product, pure and simple, of the construction of the rail-walkover or the pedestrian island (both of which, incidentally, have been designed to facilitate safety for the wheelchair bound people residing in the vicinity as well as for pedestrians).
Janet Brown’s apocalyptic visions of disasters about to befall Alice Springs as a result of what may in some respects be a safer situation than that which existed previously do not help us in evaluating what needs to be done.
It is time we all accept that further measures have to be taken to prevent and minimise these dangerous incidents.
These changes could possibly include lowering the current 70 km/hour speed limit, and modifying some design aspects of the new structures; as well as reducing sales and consumption of alcohol at licensed outlets in the vicinity, and making ongoing efforts to educate the pedestrians who are likely to use this area (including children) about the principles of safety when walking on the roads and railway lines.
NB: The people crossing the road here do not only comprise those living at the Little Sisters community: they also include many people who reside at other town camps, particularly those located south of Heavitree Gap, people staying at the Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park, and people from throughout Central Australia who visit these town camp communities.

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Billen’s family: Make telling hotel where you trek mandatory
Ruth Gibbins (Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:55 pm): Monika Billen was not at Trephina Gorge, the park reserve about 85 km east of Alice, where the German couple, the Thors, died from thirst or exposure 12 months ago.
Monika visited a different park reserve, Emily Gap, which is only about 10 km east of Alice. She seemingly walked there by herself on a very hot day, above 40 degrees centigrade.
Monika was apparently found under a tree in a rugged area, well away from the road, about three km back towards Alice from that small gorge.
So she died in the bush about seven km east of Alice, but in the bush, off the road.
There is no established walking track through the bush from Emily Gap to Alice.
Sadly, Monika had been missing for a week before anybody realised that she had not returned from her walk to and from Emily gap, along a non-designated route, in the extreme heat.

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InterestedDarwinObserver (Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:52 am): Your statement is highly confusing. Are you really saying that Bruce is like a perpetual victim, identity politician and social justice warrior, and that Sandra Nelson MLA stood him up? I know that Bruce has been a bit of an anti-fracking warrior, but I would have thought that your description of him is a bit excessive.

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Evelyne Roullet (Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm): Re your question “Why does a Federal Government help a Labor Government?”
I could just as well ask: “Why shouldn’t a Federal Government help a Labor Government, or any other type of government, for that matter?”
Federal governments of both persuasions help state and territory governments in all manner of ways all the time, and why shouldn’t they?

End of search for Monika Billen
New Tech (Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:38 am): The police announced early in the search that they were making very extensive use of drone technology.

Drug dog sniffs out grog runners
Evelyne (Posted below on January 14, 2019 at 10:15 am) says rhetorically: “Is there a law dictating how much alcohol can be carried in a vehicle? No!”
I have no idea whether Evelyne is correct, but it is evident that she is not aware of the powers conferred on NT police (and now on the NT Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors, aka PALIs) by a new Commonwealth law enacted by John Howard’s Federal Liberal-National Party Coalition government in September 2007. (The Federal law was immediately confirmed by the then NT Government in complementary amendments to its NT Liquor Act).
From that time NT police have been empowered to seize, and keep or destroy, any alcohol when they judge that the person in possession of it may be intending to illegally on-sell it and/or has no intention of consuming it in a place where it is legal to consume alcohol.
This power has formed the basis for almost all the POSI, TBL and PALI activities outside liquor outlets since they were first introduced by police under the Henderson Labor government in May 2012, up to the present day.
So Evelyne, the amount of alcohol in a vehicle is irrelevant. The powers of police to make a judgement about the situation are the key factor.
As for Ms Roullet’s opinion that “People should learn to control their environment”, it is hard to disagree. What an excellent “motherhood statement”.
It is even harder to fathom how Evelyne thinks this might begin to happen, in any constructive, sustainable and just manner, without the great help of the PALIs using the special powers conferred on them back in 2007, especially in relation to those people who are generally the main victims of alcohol-fuelled mayhem and waste: Infants, other children, many women, the weak, the infirm and the elderly. Do you think they should all be trained in the martial arts and issued with tazers and mustard gas, Evelyne?
Under exactly what circumstances do you think people would be able or likely to “learn to control their environment” if they were again engulfed in a tsunami of alcohol, Evelyne?
Would you be there to throw life jackets to the victims of the excessive drinkers?
Or would you prefer to let the survival of the fittest apply, and more generations of children fail to get a fair start in life?

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